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  1. CK has some cupcake inserts similar to Kitchen Krafts. These might be a good option if you're looking for a large quantity. See Here
  2. I've frozen ganache and later used it as a cake filling.
  3. I've frozen cookies decorated with both "white chocolate" candy coating and also Toba Garrett's Glace icing (not both on the same cookie) and they were fine when thawed. I put wax paper between them and stacked them. There was no sticking and the colors were fine. The candy coating I used was Guittard white ribbons and also Wilton candy melts. It seems like I've also frozen buttercream iced ones too, but didn't stack them.
  4. Awesome demo and an awesome cake! LOVE it! Thanks so much. I'm curious... what type of buttercream do you use? I saw Annie's tip on smoothing the icing with clean hands after chilling and I forgot to ask her what type she uses. (Hello, Annie, are you out there?) I'm assuming this smoothing trick will only work with the meringue buttercreams, not the so-called "American" buttercreams.
  5. I have been talking with chefette about my first batch of pastillage and making "coral" by PM and she suggested that I share my experience. I'm going to post about that, then add her response, .... and finally my response..... here goes..... I think my first batch turned out OK. I used the powdered gelatin. I started out with 70 grams of water. After I let it sit in cold water, the gelatin was, I don't know how to describe it... it was more like a solid than a liquid. I could stand a spoon up in it and the spoon didn't fall over. So I added 3 more teaspoons of water. It was still not real fluid, almost like regular jello that had been stirred for a while, but I didn't want to add too much water so I went with it. After I added my liquid to the dry ingredients, the mass was very thick and my mixer even stopped momentarily, straining to get through it. So I added some more water, 5 teaspoons. I was using my Kitchenaid 4.5 quart mixer. I mixed it and it seemed a little sticky, kind of in between chefette's two photos of the sheet gelatin batch and the powdered gelatin batch. I then messed around getting my kneading surface ready, say a few minutes. I forgot to cover the pastillage and it seemed in that time that it dried a bit... so that it was no longer sticky. I was able to knead it and it would stick just the tiniest amount to the heel of my hand. I didn't even need to use 10x to keep it from sticking to my mat. It seemed just about right. I went back and measured to see how much 70 grams of water plus 8 teaspoons was and it ended up being 102 grams. Hopefully, I'll have some time this evening to experiment with the coral. OK, then chefette's response to this..... Chefette: Did you melt the gelatine over heat with the vinegar and corn syrup? You should do that. Always melt your gelatine after blooming - blooming does not equate to melting Yes the pastillage is really thick and will pretty much bring the mixer to a halt - that is a good time to either have faith in the motor or to scrape it all out on the counter and start kneading. I find that it behaves better sometimes - worse others - I typically add a little water and really find that getting my fingers wet and then continuing to knead does really well at hydrating the pastillage. And - the not sticking is exactly how it should go. I am psyched to hear about your results. On my undersea cake last summer - I bought a copy of Finding NEMO at the bookstore for the fun coral and undersea plants and replicated a bunch of them. Fun lopey things, Sort of sqare or triangular tubey horn things, and long wavy pieces. I thought those were more ocean looking and prettier than the waved pastillage. Has your dehydrating commenced? And finally, my comments and questions to the above: JacqueOH: Yes, I melted the gelatin along with the corn syrup and vinegar. That went just fine. Dehydrating.... I assume you mean that the pastillage dries very quickly? I split the batch into two, wrapped each in plastic wrap, wrapped each of those in a damp washcloth and finally stuck them in an air-tight Ziploc bag. Good idea on using Finding Nemo for inspiration. There really are some beautiful "underwater shots" in that movie. I'm going to go play with my pastillage now... yep, an exciting Saturday night of sugar fun.
  6. Chefette - thank you, thank you, thank you!!! I'm going to play with microwaving some pastillage to see if I can come up with anything remotely resembling coral. You and your demo R O C K!!!! Desertm - great shoe!!
  7. Chefette, thanks again! I am eating this up. I'm so glad you're being so thorough in your explanations. I think the frame you built for the airplane body is a work of art in itself. I have a question on somthing basic... on the first recipe for pastillage, where it calls for 10 grams (I think it was) of gelatin, I assume this means gelatin sheets? And how do you "bloom" the sheets? Do you just soak them well and drain off the excess water? Where do you find gelatin sheets... does a typical grocery store carry them? You mentioned that you microwaved pastillage to make coral-type pieces. If you're not too tired of pastillage by the end of your demo, would you mind posting a picture of that, as well as a short explanation of your method (initial shapes, microwave time and the like)? I am doing a seashell wedding cake in August and would love to see what pastillage coral looks like. Thanks in advance edited to say... I just noticed chiantiglace showed how to handle gelatin sheets in his stabilized whipped cream demo. So my question is revised to, how long do you soak your sheets for pastillage?
  8. Thank you so much! I didn't understand the difference between pastillage and gumpaste, so I really appreciate you taking the time to explain. Your examples are incredible! Beautiful too! I love that wagon
  9. Thank you both! Anne, yes it does sound like I didn't have my dipping chocolate thin enough. I am so glad I asked and thanks for sharing. Passionate... I hear you on just letting it flow and the challenge of stopping. Ummmm, tempering? Yikes! I've read a few threads on tempering and it sounds a bit daunting. Not sure I'm ready for that. Is it necessary to temper for cookies? What if you don't? are the results passable?
  10. Thank you all SO much! I was using a metal tip, with a coupler, and probably too much coating in the bag, sooooooo, lots of room for improvement there. BKeith - excellent idea about nestling the bags in a folded over heating pad. Now I gotta go try to find mine! Anne, thank you, I will definitely try to find some of the Felchlin. I'm anxious to see what "real" chocolate acts like. Do you mind me asking, while I'm on the subject of decorating cookies with chocolate... after you dip your cookies, what method do you use to smooth the surface? I was having so-so results smoothing with a spatula. I was able to get a nice smooth surface after I set my cookie on a paper towel and then held the sides of the paper towel and gently (or sometimes not so gently) tapped the cookie repeatedly on the table until the coating smoothed out. BUT, it wasn't a method I pictured a pastry chef using. Kate, yes, chocolate is a different animal altogether, but worth getting to know, I think. I'm embarrassed to admit that it wasn't that long ago I thought "white chocolate" chips were actually chocolate! It's like a whole new world is opening here. Oh, and your rice crispie treats are awesome! WAY fancier than any my kitchen has ever seen edited for late night typo. errors
  11. I recently tried decorating sugar cookies with white chocolate for the first time, after seeing Chefpeon mention that's how she did them. I loved how much easier it was to dip the cookies in melted chocolate for the "base coat" (thanks, Anne!), but I struggled when it came time to pipe on the details. I had problems with the chocolate setting up in my piping bag as I was decorating. And it seemed the chocolate that had a lot of food coloring in it was particularly prone to setting up. I used both powdered colors and liquid candy colors. I also added some Crisco or paramount crystals to my chocolate to help make it more fluid. I should note that it was actually white candy coating, rather than real chocolate. I used Guittard white ribbons that I got from the local cake decorating supply store. What I tried was to have two decorating bags going... one warming on my electric griddle, set on low heat, while I used the other. When the one I was using started getting hard, I would switch to the one that was warming. My griddle is old, and will only stay on above 150 degrees. For any of you that pipe/decorate with chocolate, do you have any helpful hints or tips? Does real chocolate work better than the candy coating? Is there a particular amount of Crisco that should be added to the candy coating? What temperature is ideal for warming chocoalte? I had 50 cookies to decorate recently and I was ready to tear my hair out toward the end as my chocolate got increasingly difficult to work with. Thanks in advance! I haven't posted much, but I learn something new from this board every day.
  12. I just typed out this long-winded response on a cake board I visit so I thought I'd cut and paste here. I haven't used edible images with fondant, but it sounds like it certainly is possible. I just bought a Canon IP3000 (as a backup) from www.newegg.com for $65, and they have a $20 rebate and free shipping so that makes it $45 in the end. I'm not sure if they still have the special, but this is the second time I've heard of them having this type of sale. If you're patient and watch for sales, you can find these printers relatively cheap. This Canon model doesn't do the larger sheets, just 8.5x11. The edible ink cartridges are around $50 (I got mine for 25% off at www.sweetart.com - they also have free shipping on your first order) The edible image paper will run about $27 for a 24-pack of sheets. I haven't really seen it for less, although I'd sure like to hear about it if anyone else has. Some folks get the cleaner cartridges, which I think are around $50 (not sure though), but these are optional. I don't have any and have never had any problems with plugging (knock on wood), but I know there are people that swear by them. If you use your machine often enough I don't think it's an issue. If you don't have any need for edible images, you can still print out a test sheet once a week on regular paper to keep the cartridges running. My point in typing this is to say that you don't have to spend an arm and a leg to get rolling with edible images. Oh, and if you use wafer paper, the paper is relatively cheap, if you want to do butterflies and the like. Using edible images is a nice way to put out a decent cake when you're pressed for time, when you're tired, burned out ,or whatever. In addition, I've made a ton of cookies using edible images for a local car dealership and that's probably paid for my system 5 times over. Here's a quickie cake I did using edible images... edited to add photo
  13. I agree that egg white royal makes stronger runout pieces. That's one thing I like about it. I never thought to beat it by hand though. Ugh! I'm not sure I'd be up to that After the discussion about the "whipability" I think I'll do some experimenting this weekend and try to see which whites whip the best for me. You've all got me curious. I got these. The Just whites are powdered, found in the baking aisle. All Whites are liquid, found in the refrigerator section. I couldn't find pasteurized eggs at Kroger, but will check the other two local stores. CompassRose - Do you refrigerate your Just Whites? edited to try to increase picture size... still working on it OK, think I got it. Don't you just love us newbies?
  14. Thanks for the input mkfradin, I didn't know that. And thanks for the recipe Wendy. I had been using Colette Peters recipe, which only takes 2 egg whites to a pound of powd. sugar, but also uses 2 teaspoons of water and 1/2 tsp. cream of tartar. I'll try yours out. BTW, when you say xxxsugar, is that a generic term for powdered sugar? On my cake board, we've gotten into a few discussions about 6X and 10X powdered sugar, so I don't know if xxxsugar is the same or something different. Patrick and M.Lucia... now you've got me curious and I'm going to try both to see what happens. Gee, I didn't realize the can of worms I'd get myself into. But I love experimenting and always trying to find something better. Thanks again... there's so much to learn on this board.
  15. Thank you so much everyone. I didn't realize there was so much to know about egg whites (and how much I didn't know). I will experiment with some of the egg white options and see if it affects my results. I'm here in the US, Ohio actually. I may check to see if any of the other grocery stores in my area carry the pasteurized eggs. Out of curiousity. Thanks again... this board is such a goldmine of information.
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